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Posts Tagged ‘rano360travels’

Hello Seoul. Part II

Written by Rano Iskandar on . Posted in community, culture, travel, lifestyle, Social News

 


Friends I made during my 5 day trip in Seoul, Korea. Taken late June 2017.
 


My group mates – Ogia (Papa New Guinea), Ulzii (Mongolia), Mark (Korea), Andrea (Indonesia), Daniel (Korea), Deva (Indonesia), Ron (Indonesia) and Khulan (Mongolia). A huge thanks to Daniel for taking care of our group since Day 1.

I’m still reminiscing my day in Seoul, Korea during my short visit for the Asian Cultural Young Leaders’ Camp 2017 (25th June to 30th June). It seemed like yesterday but it has been almost a month since that experience. I made the conscious choice to accept the offer even though it was during the first few days of Eid Mubarak celebration. My deepest gratitude to the Korean Embassy to Brunei and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Republic of Korea for giving me this opportunity in the first place.

The hospitality was top notch and MOFA (Korea) knew how to take care of all the representatives from Asia Pacific during their stay in Seoul, Korea. We bonded on the first night with the youth from different walks of life. From Japan to Australia to Mongolia to Afghanistan, you name it. It was an emotional farewell on the final dinner before we departed back to our own countries. This is my biggest highlight of the Asian Cultural Young Leaders’ Camp 2017 #ACYLC2017 #2017ACYLC – the diplomacy and friendship among different nationalities and cultures. This is a sign of world peace where all of us can get along and make a difference in the world. I just wish for longer days and freer time to further strengthen the bonds and friendship among my newly acquainted friends.

I previously shared my story on PyeongChang, the upcoming Winter Games in February 2018. Now let allow me to share my other interesting trips at Korea. First up was the visit to the Ojukheon House at Gangneung near PyeonChang, a few hours ride from Seoul. If you really keen to understand the culture of Korea, this is a must visit territory.

Ojukheon House. According to history, Ojukheon House was where Shin Saimdang (1504-1551) lived and where her son Yi I (penname Yulgok; scholar and politician of the Joseon Period) was born. It was built during the early Joseon Dynasty and remains one of the oldest wooden residential buildings in Korea. It was designated as Treasure No. 165 in 1963 and has been maintained by the descendants throughout the generations.The house is made of black bamboo trees and still holding up. The interesting fact is that Shin Saimdang is featured on the Korean Won 50,000 note and still is. Her contribution as a artist and poet back in the 16th century and she’s the only lady being featured on Korean currency. If you are heading for the Winter Olympics at PyeongChang, then do visit Ojukheon House.

Seongyojang House. Another place I found interesting was Seongyojang House which was built back in the 1750s. Now why this is a unique place is because it reminds me of Air BnB. Let me share you a bit of history. It was created in 1703 by Yi Naebeon, an 11th generation descendant of Prince Hyoryeondaegun, part of the Hyoryeong royal family during the Joseon Dynasty. The idea behind Seongyojang House was to promote happiness and joy among relatives living there. Now I was told that back then, the owner of the residence would welcome guests and visitors to stay and they won’t accept any form of monetary in exchange. The guests were also well fed by the host and in return, they would shower the host with gifts instead as a sign of gratitude.

I’m still surprised that the Seongyojang House is very well maintained after 300 years and has past 10 generations. The structures are still intact and well preserved and it was even selected by Korean Broadcasting System as the top 10 well preserved original dwellings in Korea. A must visit destination if you are around PyeongChang area. I’m glad that such historical places do still exist and well maintained.

 

 


Lunch around PyeongChang while being briefed on the Winter Olympics
 


The view outside Seongyojang House. An interesting and historical place to visit.
 

Samsung Innovation Museum. According to Visit Korea, Samsung Innovation Museum (SIM) is a business hall as well as the largest sized industrial electronics museum in Korea, displaying the growing steps of Samsung Electronics Corporation at a glance. It is located inside of Suwon Digital City where Samsung Electronics Corporation was initially established 47 year ago. Starting from the time when electronics were first produced to the current trend of cutting-edge smart devices, the electronic industry has become more and more innovative. This history of innovation and the future of electronics are reflected in the museum while looking at the various exhibition halls, comprised of History of Samsung, Seeds of Innovation, Core of Innovation and Inspiring Innovation. The halls of Samsung Innovation Museum give a meaningful experience to figure out what innovation really means.

Ok, here goes my version – WWWOWWWW!!!! It’s like a city of its own and I could see associates of Samsung just cycling around to get to the other building. It’s also very heavily guarded so no one can simply just enter the Suwon Digital City. I seriously don’t mind working in this environment and it does feel quite futuristic (like in the movies). Too bad our group only tasted 5% of the Suwon Digital City. I wanted more but I guess there are restricted area.

In the museum, you will get to learn of the history of Samsung and also other inventions by inventors and also recognizing other brands that made an impact on our daily lives through time. For instance, the birth of washing machine or vacuum cleaner which helped to cut down longer hours of house chores. We were being educated on the existence of not just phones and TVs but also on other electrical appliances that play a part in our lives.

The admission is free and you will be guided by a museum presenter. It’s open from Monday to Friday but there won’t be any guided tour on a Saturday. You can take pictures but no filming recording is allowed. If you are not even a Samsung fan, this place is still worth a visit. I began to appreciate all these innovations after the tour. Thank you to all the inventors for making all these technological advances possible.

 


At the Suwon Digital City where Samsung Innovation Museum is located. This is one of the signs on the street. So be mindful when you walk 😉
 


You’re not allowed to take close up shots in the SIM or even video recording. But this kind of shots or selfies are welcomed 😀
 


Viewing the gallery while learning the important inventions which lead to our current technology
 


The 105” inch Samsung Curve UHD TV. The price for this is valued at USD 110,000 *Gullllpp*
 

Arirang’s Heart to Heart show. It’s not as easy as 1-2-3 to be selected to be featured on Arirang News, one of Korea’s leading broadcasting news that has global reach of 138 million households. A big thank you to MOFA Korea for making this possible as I was one of the special guests for Heart to Heart show in Arirang TV. The other special guest was Ashani Yusron, a big Hallyu fan from Indonesia. The recorded show for our session will up in one or two weeks’ time. Thank you to Manu (the producer) and Jennifer, the host for Heart to Heart and not forgetting our special friend, Mary.

This particular episode talks about our take of Korean culture and how it has been well received in our respective countries and also a bit of background of what we do professionally in the line of being social influencers. I shall keep you posted when the show will be set for release. Thank you once again to Arirang TV for having us on your show. This is definitely a milestone for 2017.


Thank you, Jennifer (right) for being such a sporting host
 


With the producer of Heart to Heart, Manu 😀
 


An awesome session with Jennifer. Can’t wait to see the actual show
 

Making bimbibap. Yes, this is the real deal. I normally being served at Korean Restaurants in Brunei but this one .. this one is the real deal. You get to see the traditional way of making bimbibap. For your info, bibimbap means mixed rice and in Korea, bimbibap is served as a bowl of warm white rice and topped with namul (sauteed and seasoned veggies, gochujang (chilli paste), soy sauce or doenjang (fermented soybean paste). Other additions are such as fried egg and slice beef. Then you stir the contents inside the bowl before you eat.

That day we visited a Korean restaurant (can’t remember the name) and we were given the experience to mix the bimbibap in a humungous bowl that is enough to feed at least a hundred people. I love the authentic taste of it too and the hospitality from the restaurant owners. Now being back in Brunei, I have more appreciation of how bimbibap is being served and maybe, just maybe, my expectations in terms of presentation and taste have slightly increased.

 


I had the privilege to stir this around. One massive bowl for bimbibap. This is how authentic it gets 😀
 


The customary selfie pose, of course, with bimbibap
 


One of the best lunches during our trip
 


Having fun after an awesome bimbibap lunch

Farewell dinner. The awesome about this program was that we were fed very well and also on time. The program was so structured that they made meal times a priority and also on time. I don’t know how they did it but they pulled it off consistently for 5 straight days. Amazing!! Our final dinner was Seoul Marina which was like an hour away from our hotel, Koreana and we hoped for a variety of choices as we had too much of kimchi during our previous meals. And yes we did!! The food was great and it was also an emotional farewell session as a few representatives from each group shared their learning and experiences from the #ACYLC2017.

We have our own Facebook group page and it’s flooded with pictures and memories. You were right, this is not a good bye but merely a transitional period where we will have newer opportunities to meet once again. It has been three weeks and it’s still fresh in my memory. Thank you once again, MOFA Korea and The Korea Foundation for hosting us and this has been one of the best experiences in a long time. I hope to see more of this in the near future.

 

 


One of our cute volunteers from Korea. Thank you for helping us out.
 


The volunteers from Korea Foundation
 


She’s one awesome emcee and is a TV presenter for Arirang TV.
 

 


Nice shot with the Samsung 360 camera. Taken at Anmok Beach.
 


I had a nice bingsu at GongCha by Anmok Beach
 


Strolling by the beach
 

The Porsche Experience

Written by Rano Iskandar on . Posted in automative

 


Izam Said and I had fun during the Media Driving Academy (MDA) hosted by Porsche earlier this month. Thank you QAF Eurokars for inviting us
 


Journalists from Asia Pacific had a good experience on the track

Porsche Asia Pacific announced recently the start of the highly anticipated Media Driving Academy (MDA) in Sepang, Malaysia, now in its third iteration. This year’s event, took place from 4th to 6th July 2017, gave Asia Pacific journalists the very first opportunity to drive the new Panamera Turbo and Panamera 4S on the racetrack, among a fleet of other Porsche cars. The Cayman GT4 Clubsport, a 283 kW (385 hp) mid-engined racer for motorsport newcomers, were also available for hot laps for the first time at the MDA. Well, hot laps meaning you get be driven by the driving instructors/professionals on full speed on the Sepang Circuit. The lucky ones also had the opportunity to be driven by Earl Bamber, a Le Mans champion driver for Porsche in 2017. Awesome!!!

First launched in 2015 at Bira Circuit, Pattaya, Thailand, the MDA allows media to experience the maximum performance of Porsche cars through consecutive courses designed to sharpen driving skills in a safe environment with world-class Porsche instructors. Journalists from 10 countries across the Asia Pacific region will participate in one of three courses – Individual, Professional or Elite. In addition to activities on the track, participants will experience theory workshops, including a motorsports conditioning session, driving physics workshop and a Q&A with Porsche certified instructors. My Brunei entourage were Yursin Junaidi (Media Permata), Izam Said (Motoring BN) and I who attended the Individual category (entry level) while Aziz Idris of Borneo Bulletin had the privilege to be in the “Professional” category.

Following his win driving the Porsche 919 Hybrid at this year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans, the world’s longest-running endurance race, Earl Bamber will work with Elite and Individual course participants, and provide a taste of a day in the life of a Porsche LMP1 driver. Plus he is an awesome lad and down to earth.

Earl Bamber added: “Coming fresh off the 24 Hours of Le Mans and into the Media Driving Academy at Sepang, I am thrilled that I can share with journalists what an incredible experience it was. It is my second win at the legendary race and what can I say, I am still letting it sink in! I also had immense fun giving hot laps in the Cayman GT4 Clubsport and the road cars – Porsche truly has motorsports in its blood, and it shows in every one of its cars, including the new Panamera!”

So what’s my favourite Porsche after this experience? The Porsche 911 Carrera 4S if I’m not mistaken.

Members of the public interested in experiencing Porsche cars on the track can sign up to the Porsche Driving Experience at Sepang. For further information visit: http://www.porsche.com/driving-experience-asia-pacific


It feels like an award but it isn’t. Just love the plaque *lol*
 


The briefing before the driving experience at Sepang International Circuit
 


Yusrin was my driving partner for the day
 

 


I love this ride too
 


Earl Bamber checking on us before driving
 

 

 

The Slalom experience. I only clocked 28 seconds. The driving instructor clocked at 22 seconds. I’m getting there 😀 
 

 

The Braking experience. This exercise shows how awesome the Anti-Braking System (ABS) embedded in Porsche. We were accelerating so fast that my heart was left at the starting point. I love the adrenalin rush. 
 

 


The modified Porsche GTS meant for racing
 


Our evening dinner before the event
 


Great hospitality 😀 Thank you
 


Claire Jedrek the host interviewing Earl Bamber during dinner
 

Rano in Seoul – Part I

Written by Rano Iskandar on . Posted in community, culture, travel, lifestyle, Social News

 


Thank you, Daniel, for picking me up at the Incheon Airport upon my arrival last weekend
 


Our first Open Talk session where each country given an opportunity to share about their latest trends of social media and internet of things in their respective countries
 

So how have your Hari Raya (Eid Mubarak) celebration been? It has been almost a week and I can’t wait to get back home after spending almost a week in Republic of Korea. A big thanks to the Republic of Korea Embassy in Brunei Darussalam for selecting me to be part of the recent Asian Cultural Youth Leaders’ Camp 2017 in Seoul, Korea.

The ACYLC 2017 was organised by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Korean Foundation. The 5 day program was attended by other representatives from 20 other countries in Asia Pacific. I even made acquaintance with a friend from Papa New Guinea and Fiji. The most important outcome were the friendship and the diplomacy that was created (or re-created) among other different nationalities. I just don’t know where to begin. All I can say for now is that #2017ACYLC program has achieved its objective in forming strategic cultural diplomacy among other nationalities. Even in a short period of time, the hardest part was the goodbyes and the see-you-next-time gestures.

The event started with an orientation or what we call the ice-breaker session with all the delegates. Each of us were given a min or two to introduce ourselves and I was selected to be in Group B (with Indonesia, Korea, Papa New Guinea, Mongolia) during the first evening. We weren’t warm up until the next day when we started to do our presentation during the “Open Talk” session. It was the most interesting part as we learnt the culture of how internet and technology play a part in their respective countries.

While Brunei has a higher internet penetration which also equates to higher social media penetration, other countries have different levels of penetration and social media presence. Did you know that Brunei has more than 100% of mobile penetration in the region? This means at least one of us have dual sim cards. As for Brunei, Instagram and Facebook have been the main source of updating statuses while Youtube remains the most popular for pleasure viewing.

In Korea, Facebook is widely popular with Instagram on the rise. Around 70% of the Koreans I met recently own an IG account while all of them have a Facebook account. Kakao Talk is Korea’s leading messaging app and not many of them communicate like how Bruneians do – WhatsApp. I downloaded the app to give a shot since I have more than two Korean friends. I would say that it’s similar to Line but cleaner and efficient. I like it but I won’t be using it as much since it’s not a frequent app being used in Brunei.

 


Around 20 representatives from different countries in the Asian Cultural Youth Leaders’ Camp 2017. Thank you, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Korea and Korean Foundation.
 


Shooting with a fish eye lens
 


We had a brief appearance at Arirang TV news. Awesome!!!
 


Seung-Hye Sun, Director of Cultural Cooperation Division, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, sharing an interesting insight on Korea’s Digital Diplomacy and New Media. It really gave me a different perspective on MOFA’s initiative and I wish other countries can do the same to strengthen the diplomacy between countries.
 


I shared the trends in Brunei and how internet penetration is quite high in Brunei Darussalam
 


With the beautiful ladies from Mongolia, Uzi and Khulan
 

We spent one and a half day in Seoul before heading of the PyeongChang, the official city for the upcoming Winter Olympics in Republic of Korea. We have a small preview at one of the sporting venues at PyeongChang, the Alpensia where the ski jump will be held. Now it’s the summer period so basically there isn’t any snow or ice for the matter. All we could see was a massive long slide for ski jump and a football size field and I believe the surface looks like artificial grass. It’s like seeing the ski jump venue but butt naked *lol*

Now here comes to the awesome thing – there were doing practice ski drills literally on the carpeted grass surface. It was as if I was watching a defying stunt in real life. I was worried that one of them would miscue a move and start rolling down the steep slope. However, all the attempts they performed were successful. Watching them practice was definitely some cheap thrill to watch them practice. The Ski Jumping event at Alpensia will be one of the biggest draw for the PyeongChang Games 2018.

I learnt something interesting about PyeongChang. Did you know that they lost first two bids for 2010 and 2014? And Pyeongchang ain’t giving up the fight to win the bid for 2018. According to one of the spokesperson of the PyeongChang Games Organizing Committee, it’s their facilities and capabilities that stood out and they are well prepared with contingency plans should there be unseen circumstances related to the weather conditions. In this case, it could be the lack of snow or ice due to the climate change. But not to worry as PyeongChang is ready for contingency plans.

PyeongChang Games will also introduce the first ever 5G telecommunications services. I was told that the 5G network is 20 times faster than our current 4G. Wow!! That’s simply fast… I can’t wait for that technology to come to Brunei but Korea will be the first to test its 5G capabilities during the Winter Games. You will be able to experience things such as 5G bus connection, 360 Virtual Reality and get this, an omni view from the athlete’s point of view (Awesome!!) in real-time and also holograms. Other than that, the area will be wifi ready around PyeongChang and you will be updated with traffic information and even parking information. The organisers have planned this ahead to make it more convenient for Olympic fans/goers. Kudos to them 😀

All these bits and pieces are just the attractions that I myself am keen to fly and check out the Winter Games at PyeongChang. It’s a wonderful city in Gangwon Province, South Korea. A mountainous area and also place home to several Buddhist temples including Woljeongsa Temple.

In the latest news, South Korean President Moon Jae-In on Monday urged the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to help North Korea participate in next year’s Winter Games, saying it would contribute to regional and world peace. We could see that Moon renewed his push for “sports diplomacy,” urging IOC’s help to enable the North to take part. We shall see how this will unfold in the coming weeks or months.

Nonetheless, PyeongChang will be the biggest attraction for Korea in 2018. I have faith that the Winter Olympics will be a huge success and help to boost the economy of the country.

I shall share my other visits of my trip in Korea in my latter posts. Images taken by delegates of the #2017AYCLC

 


Posing with the official mascots for PyeongChang Games 2018
 


Taken at the Alpensia Ski Jump Centre. Behind the beautiful ladies is the actual ski jump hill. It looks weird without the snow/ice. And the athletes were still practising their jumps.. Amazing but risky!!
 


The view from the top of the Alpensia Ski Jump Centre. Can you see the inclination of the slope for the ski jump? Scary… I can feel the magnet pulling from my groin area HAHA
 


Group photo with the delegates at Alpensia Ski Jump Centre.
 

Hari Raya in Seoul

Written by Rano Iskandar on . Posted in community, Social News

 

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His Excellency Dato Paduka Hj Rosli bin Hj Sabtu and his spouse, Datin Rohana Ering hosted an open house at their residence of the Brunei Embassy to Republic of Korea last Sunday. Korea celebrated Eid Mubarak a day earlier than Brunei. Thank you once again for your awesome hospitality.
 

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Group photo with the Brunei Embassy and students currently studying in Korea. Click image to enlarge.
 

It’s been a while since I’m away from Brunei Darussalam during Eid Mubarak/Hari Raya season. Of course, in Brunei, the celebration will last for the whole month and the significant times will be the first few days of Aidilfitri.

I accepted the offer (from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Korea) to be granted a slot at the Asian Cultural Youth Leaders’ Camp 2017 in Seoul, Republic of Korea and the timings coincided with the Hari Raya celebration. A big thank you also to the Korean Embassy in Brunei Darussalam for recommending me to attend the 5 day program which was fully sponsored by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Korea.

Funnily enough upon my arrival in Seoul, Siti Han whatsapp me as I reached Koreana Hotel early in the morning and I was fortunate that I had no agenda when she offered me to join them for Brunei Embassy’s open house at the residence. Of course, why not 😀

I was warmly greeted and I was truly amazed by the hospitality of His Excellency Dato Paduka Hj Rosli bin Hj Sabtu and his spouse, Datin Rohana Ering. The ambassador also welcomed Bruneians residing in the country and hence most of them made up of UBD students who are under the exchange program (Discovery Year) while the rest are made up of post graduate and scholarship students.

It definitely felt like home and I managed to learn more about the culture of Korea through our conversations. It was also great to see familiar faces – Anna (Nurfauzanna) binti Abu Bakar and Hjh Rosni bin Hj Mohd Yassin who are posted currently at the Brunei Embassy in Seoul.

Thank you once more for the kind hospitality and I’m sure the Bruneians who were in the vicinity felt blessed and appreciative of your hospitality.

To my family back home and my friends, Selamat Hari Raya Maaf Zahir Batin adn do buckle up while driving.

 

 

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Photo opportunity with some of the students
 

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His Excellency Dato Paduka Hj Rosli bin Hj Sabtu was a former Managing Director of AMBD before he is being posted to Korea back in July 2015
 

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Taken just outside the embassy’s residence. Very cozy and a safe neighborhood too.
 

I’m back….

Written by Rano Iskandar on . Posted in Social News

 


My recent trip to Kota Kinabalu and the dinner theme was colourful cultural
 


The Brunei contingent was very united as usual

Another short hiatus from me as I was away from Brunei. If you have been following me on social media, I was away in Kota Kinabalu to support my friends who were competing in speech contest in English and in Mandarin. Even though I brought my notebook with me, it wasn’t easy for me to update my blog. The schedules were packed but I had still a great and fruitful time nonetheless.

Last weekend was one of the highlights of the year. Almost 30 from Brunei toastmasters (Area K6) left for Kota Kinabalu to support our representatives from Brunei – Allen Ang, Pooja Shivanand, Sandy Tan and Theressa Chong and featuring our humour master Jidun Dollah. Though we only brought one trophy back, it was still a surreal feeling to witness the closeness and the family nature of the Brunei contingent whenever we travel as a pack. Nothing can top how we are in the district. Now I’m back in Brunei and nursing a runny nose (I wonder who gave it to me mmmm) and a tummy bug where I frequented the toilet. It’s time for me to get into second gear and soon it will be the fasting month.

I have been missing a few events also during the weekend in Brunei and it could just be the final weekend before Ramadhan kicks in. I was contemplating back then if I want to continue and do food reviews and collaborate with Filterworks once again for Sungkai promotion but I finally come to a decision that I will take a break for this time round. Nonetheless, I will still help to promote eateries her and there but not in depth. I still have my existing clients so there will be some coverage on their sungkai buffets. You can follow @bruneifoodies @kurapak @thanislim @marul69 who will be quite active during Ramadhan promotion.

Before my trip to KK, I had the privilege to attend a few car launches and test drives. Awesome, awesome!! This is definitely the best time to try out new cars in time for the Hari Raya season – the Audi Q2, the Mini Country Man and the Mazda CX-5 to name a few and Jati Transport also had their Hari Raya Special Event where they will be giving BND 1,000 gift certificate to new buyers for the ex-stock vehicles and the offer is valid until 30th June. There are also pre-owned Mercedes-Benz models such as the S 350L, E 300, E 200 and CLA 200 on offer.

I’ve been out of the movie scene because normally I catch a movie at least once a week. A few movies to be caught this week – Pirates of the Caribbean (not expecting much) and maybe, just maybe the Tagalog movie but definitely giving The Circle a miss and also Diary of a Wimpy Kid. Looks like Baywatch will be showing soon in Brunei and it will be showing next week along with Wonder Woman. Something to look forward to.

Of course, another to look forward to is Ramadhan. The fasting season is just around the corner and it could fall this Saturday or Sunday depending on the moon sighting. Nonetheless, it’s one of the better months in 2017.

I will posting some late news by tomorrow and hopefully I’ll be in better shape (thanks runny) by this week or before Ramadhan.

 

 


Test driving the Mini Countryman. Reviews soon.
 


I also had a test drive of the Audi Q2. Reviews soon.
 


During the roadshow of the Mazda CX-5 at The Mall last week. I can’t wait to test drive the MX-5 soon.
 

Coldplay lived up to the hype

Written by Rano Iskandar on . Posted in lifestyle, Social News

 


The balloons hit during the “Adventure of a Lifetime” song
 


Amazing lighting and atmosphere. Thank you, Coldplay
 

My oh my… It has been a while since I attended a concert. My last was Pitbull gig in Singapore. Yea that was fun and he was a great entertainer during his 2013 Global Warming Tour and merely a 5,000 crowd attendance. I heard that he will be back again in Singapore of Climate Change tour this coming May.

Fast forward to 2017, Coldplay’s A Head Full of Dreams tour was my next concert. Yea, I missed out Guns N’ Roses gig in Singapore last February but i heard mixed reviews due to the logistics, the venue as well as the sound system.

It was totally opposite for Coldplay’s A Head Full of Dreams tour held at the enormous Singapore National Stadium last weekend. I was worried if there was no shelter but I didn’t know that stadium has a retractable roof and it worked to great effect.

Jolene Law and I were fortunate enough to attend the first ever gig by Coldplay for the year 2017 and of course, the few familiar faces from Brunei who made it for Coldplay. The attraction was just tremendous. Coldplay first gig was back in Singapore, 2006 at the Indoor Stadium for a 10,000 audience. Then back in 2009 with Coldplay’s Viva La Vida Tour with 12,000 fans and now (in 2017), it’s a different story with 100,000 fans altogether for two shows. What a huge jump and I can tell you why.

 

 


People queueing in as early as 6pm
 


The merchandise was selling like hotcakes. Each t-shirt costs around $50
 


Hello Sue, I hope you were awed with Coldplay.
 

 


One of the guys who were selling spare tickets and also merchandise. Apparently he sold them t-shirts for $20 each
 


The tickets are barcoded. Well, you just have to print them and enter. But once you go in, you can’t go out.
 


Jaymee was also one of those who flew from Brunei 😀
 


Hello Jolene and I hope you enjoyed your belated birthday gift. See you next time in Singapore.
 


We were totally impressed with the Coldplay experience
 


The strong 50,000 crowd after the concert ended.
 

Now there are a few reasons why Coldplay is the most electrifying concert that I’ve attended so far. It’s more than just a concert. It’s the whole wham bam experience.

1. Chris Martin is a great connector. The lead vocalist and the main person behind Coldplay was able to engage the audience with his movement on the stage and also during transitions between songs. Of course, the crowd was quite responsive and some were even in tears. He even joked about the humidity in Singapore as you can see his sweat dripping when he was passionately hitting the notes on the keyboard (Yea, we saw it on the gigantic screen lol). Chris was so uplifting from start to finish and the star of the show.

2. The LED wrist band. One thing was fans and not-so-big fans looking forward to Coldplay is the technicolour experience that you will enjoy from a Coldplay concert. The theme “A Head Full of Dreams” was fitting enough for fans to enjoy a euphoric feeling as we became awed with the random bright luminous colours from the electronically controlled wristband. The colours of the light will be in tuned with the songs and my favourite one would be the yellow/green moment.

3. The props and stage design. Yea, we might be seated at a restricted view as highlighted on the tickets. But we didn’t feel restricted at all. Ironically I loved the view as I was able to see the overall experience such as the confetti, the balloons and the laser light effects. The only setback would be the angle of the gigantic screen due to our seating position. But I ain’t complaining since it didn’t really bother me as much. The pyros, the confetti and the colourful balloons created a whole new experience as a concert goer. Those who paid more were privileged to experience the shower of confetti.

4. The sound. This has always been a big issue in other gigs such as Madonna and Guns N Roses. The acoustic was at its best (and I probably believed that there was a lot of planning in this). Speakers were not just on the main stage area but also around the arena. I missed the first song but I could hear it clearly with the vocal and music outside the arena. So imagine being one of concert goers inside the arena. Every single note from the musicians was noticeable among the 50,000 strong crowd and once you reach that almost perfect acoustic and sound, it will bring more energy to the crowd.

5. The crowd participation. Of course, with the help of the electronically coloured wrist band, it will make the audience waved their hands with the flow of the music. The fans can really make a difference to a concert experience and that night, it was one of the best I’ve been too. They were singing even though they don’t remember the whole lyrics (like me). Some were even so emotional because it felt so surreal. I had my moments of screaming because I felt quite high in energy. Coldplay + the crowd were a win-win situation and that made it ever more rewarding and fulfilling.

Overall, it was the best concert experience to date and it’s no surprise if tickets were sold out in other cities. The best moment for me was “A Sky Full of Stars” and “Up & Up”. I’m hoping to get another gig of theirs in the future. Even replaying the videos I shot still gives me the goosebumps. For now, I can say my dream has been fulfilled. Thank, Coldplay and Singapore. Verdict: 10/10

 

The rafting experience

Written by Rano Iskandar on . Posted in travel, lifestyle, Social News

 


We had a fun rafting at Lamapa Adventure
 


Photo opportunity by the waterfall
 

What an awesome experience!! This is my third time rafting and this is by far the best rafting experience I had at Ubud, Bali. The service was pretty good and they provided transport from our hotel. But man, the car ride was pretty long and tiring (almost one and a half hours ride). So better pee before you leave the hotel.

The raft guides were very helpful indeed. We had John who gave us pretty good tips and the best way to go smoothly and not being stuck is to listen to the guide and you will be fine. The water is very clear and you will get used to the cold river. As for the rapids, it made our rafting pretty fun 😀

The name of the rafting place is Lamapa Adventure Rafting. It’s around BND 25 which includes transportation, lunch, shower, towel and so on). You can also order photographs during your rafting experience for BND 35. The guide will also bring a dry bag and he will ask you to bring only 1) money 2) phone 3) cigarettes.

The whole rafting experience is 16 km long and it takes about 2 and a half hours. There is a mini drop of 4m near the end and it was pretty fun. So if you happened to be in Ubud, do try out rafting..

 

 


My snack during the half way point
 


The waterfall shot
 


The ladies had fun too
 


The 4 meter drop I was talking about
 


That was a good 2 sec drop 😀
 

 

 


The youngest in our rafting group
 

COMO Uma, Ubud

Written by Rano Iskandar on . Posted in hotels, travel, lifestyle, Social News

 


The poolside of COMO Uma Hotel at Ubud. Image courtesy of Comohotels.com
 


My villa room at COMO Uma
 

It has almost been a week. I’ve been in this magnificent city of Bali where magical moments happen. I haven’t posting anything on my travels just yet on my blog so why not now? Some of my social media buddies have been tied up with their recent visit to Temburong while I cover the city of Ubud in Bali.

For some who are not familiar, Ubud is more like a nature attraction for tourists in Bali. It’s not as busy as Kuta or Seminyak but I could say it’s gradually getting busy. Well, now that more tourists are heading to Ubud, that explains the increasing traffic congestion. So it’s not something that I look forward to as it took us a while to reach certain destinations within Ubud.

Last year around this time, I was in Bali for a toastmasters convention and it was such an untimely manner as there was a volcanic eruption that caused to disrupt the flights in and out of Bali. Hence I was stuck for sometime in Bali and chilling in Bali instead.

Yay!! Now I’m back again and this time we are staying at Uma by Como, Ubud. Two years ago, I was stayed at Maya Ubud and if I were to compare with Uma by Como, I prefer the service here at Uma by Como. The only set back is that the villas doesn’t have a private pool. Boohoo. The food here is great and not as expensive surprisingly. The villa rooms, however, are a different story. Rooms starts around BND 390 on booking.com but we managed to get a better deal since we have a huge group.

Now would I recommend you to stay over at COMO Uma? Definitely for the service and the rooms. Just make sure that you save yourself some $$$. Mind you the COMO Uma is slightly far from Seminyak and Kuta. This is ideal place for couples by the way and just a good getaway from the distractions and the busyness off of Bali. Oh, they also provide shuttle to Ubud Centre and also to the money changer.

 

 


The best thing about luxurious hotels in Bali are the beds. I have such great sleep for the past week or so. I could sleep all day 😀
 


The night version. The nets are quite useful especially with mosquitoes here and there. Not to worry as they provide many repellents around the room. I only got bitten once in my week stay.
 


The bath tub which I rarely used but shows how spacious the bathroom is.
 

 


This is just outside my room. A place to chill and also outdoor shower. Haven’t really used it but I do wish there is a pool
 


I love the touch of green around the villas.
 


They have many koi fish here at the COMO and they provide fish food if you feel like feeding them
 


This taken from the lobby area of COMO Uma
 


This is the strong reason I love Ubud… The greenery 😀
 

Contact RA

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Contact: +6738677773

About RA

A blogger since 2002, using platforms from blogspot, joomla and now currently wordpress. A readership that stands on average of 20,000 visits per month. Also on active on social media platform on IG, Facebook and Snapchat (@ranoadidas)

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